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LETTER: Questions remain on potential rail overpass

Editor: The Dec. 2 Outlook article, "CP Rail prefers multi-million dollar overpass to prevent illegal crossings," states in a non-COVID-19 year up to 7,500 illegal pedestrian movements occur across CP's Rail line each month. Depending on how a month is

Editor:

The Dec. 2 Outlook article, "CP Rail prefers multi-million dollar overpass to prevent illegal crossings," states in a non-COVID-19 year up to 7,500 illegal pedestrian movements occur across CP's Rail line each month.

Depending on how a month is defined, and what constitutes a day – the pedestrian movements will almost certainly demonstrate a significant day of the week variation – 7,500 crossings per month works out to be somewhere between 250 and 400 pedestrian movements across the tracks each day.

This number of pedestrians using the desired crossing point per day is so substantial it is past time  Banff council ceased referring to the pedestrian movements across CP Rail's tracks as illegal – which I acknowledge might be technically correct – and started referring to the location where the majority of pedestrians have expressed their desire to cross the tracks as an informal crossing.

It appears CP Rail has already accepted the fact that attempting to stop pedestrians crossing the rail line is not a viable option. As a consequence, CP Rail is proposing to formalize the situation by constructing either an at-grade pedestrian crossing – like the one in the centre of Canmore – or by building a pedestrian overpass.

Given that the more than two-kilometre long passing loop in Banff is regularly used to allow eastbound trains to cross with westbound ones, an at-grade pedestrian crossing will, by its very existence, encourage pedestrians, held up by a stationary train, to ignore the boom gates and warning lights and attempt to climb through the parked train only to lose a limb or be killed when the train starts to move, or alternatively be hit and probably killed by a train travelling on the adjacent track.

Given that a true person-proof fence is totally unacceptable to Parks Canada because it would also represent a very significant barrier to wildlife movements along the valley, the only option I can see is proper grade separation of CP's trains and the 7,500 pedestrians who use the informal crossing each month. Which only leaves the question of which body will pay for the overpass: CP Rail, Parks Canada, or the Town of Banff? Ian Neuhaus,

Canmore